Rafael Ortega leads off in center once again after batting lower in the order for the first game because the Rockies had a lefty on the mound. Frank Schwindel is at first, the suddenly-hot Ian Happ is in left, and the perpetually hot Patrick Wisdom is at third. Then it’s David Bote at second, Jason Heyward in right, Robinson Chirinos catching, and Sergio Alcántara at short.
Justin Steele is 0-2 in two MLB starts, but he’s shown flashes of brilliance and just seems to have lapses that kill his chances. Putting together a solid performance against a terrible Rockies team that plays poorly on the road might be just the confidence boost he needs.
Sprechen sie Deutsch? Stout righty Germán Márquez has probably never claimed to be a jelly doughnut, but he’s done pretty well with batters this season. Having a winning record for a terrible team is no mean feat, nor is surrendering less than one homer per nine innings while calling Coors Field home.
Márquez gets a ton of grounders, which is interesting because he doesn’t rely very much on the sinker at all. His 95 mph fastball has been very effective, though, and he locates it well to set up a slider and curve that have both been very good. Those breaking balls make up nearly half of his offerings in a given game, so hitters from both sides need to be on their toes.
Lefties do have an advantage as far as splits, hitting and reaching base at a much higher clip than their right-handed counterparts. However, righties have hit nine of the 15 homers Márquez has allowed. He generates a lot of swinging strikes, something the Cubs are probably going to help him with, but his stuff can carry out of the zone too far for many called strikes. Perhaps dialing up the patience will help tonight.
First pitch is at 5:30pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 25, 2021